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5 Fun Spelling Games and Activities to Help Students Learn

Young Student holds a trophy after winning a spelling bee.

The Kentucky Louisville Courier-Journal started The National Spelling Bee in 1925 to boost interest in a "dull subject.”

There's no shortcut to spelling—it's a skill that requires lots of practice! When I taught the early grades in elementary school, I liked to involve my students in classroom spelling games and activities. These ideas will encourage your students to practice their spelling at school and at home, and S-U-C-C-E-S-S is sure to follow.

Further reading: 5 Tips to Keep Your Students Engaged at the End of the School Year

1. Roll the Dice

Pair your little learners for this fun and teachable spelling activity. Give each group a pair of dice and a list of the spelling words. To play, each child rolls the dice and counts the dots. The child who rolls the greatest number wins the round and must copy one or two of the spelling words on his/her paper. The teacher decides how many words to copy per toss, according to the time limit on this activity. Play continues in this manner until one student has written all the spelling words on the list—this child is declared the winner.

2. Concentration

Do you remember the TV game show Concentration? Have you ever played the concentration game with playing cards? Well, this game, which needs to be made in advance, is an educational spin-off that can help your students get familiar with the spelling of certain words.

 

Divide a sheet of paper into 20 squares. Each spelling word should be written on two separate squares, then cut them into playing pieces. Mix up the squares and place them face down on the table. Pair up your students and have them take turns turning over two squares. If the squares match, the child keeps the pieces and takes another turn. If they don't match, the second player gets a turn. When time is up for playing, the students with the most matches wins the game. You can use words that are similar to help your students master the correct spellings.

3. Ball Toss Spelling

This game can be played inside the classroom or outdoors. Have your group stand in a circle. Then toss a ball to a student and call out a spelling word. If they spell the word correctly, the child will toss the ball back to you. If the word is spelled incorrectly, the child sends the ball back to you and then leaves the circle. Whoever is the last speller in the circle is the winner of this game.

4. Sensory Spelling

Learning to spell requires plenty of repetition. My young students enjoyed writing their spelling words in fun, sensory ways. Each week, I presented a different technique at the sensory table. We practiced writing spelling words in shaving cream and sand. Other ideas include using dry erase boards, wooden Scrabble letters on the table, magnetic alphabet letters on a cookie sheet, and alphabet stickers on paper. Who says practicing spelling has to be boring?

5. Spelling Art

Bring out the construction paper, crayons, and markers to make colorful art projects using spelling words. Here are a few ideas.

  • Construct a set of stairs with your spelling words.

Sp

Spe

Spel

Spell

Spelli

Spellin

Spelling

  • Or make a triangle with your spelling word.

TH

THR

THRO

THROW

  • Other art ideas include drawing a spiral on paper and having the kids write each spelling word a couple of times with colorful markers following the lines. Continue around the spiral until the student finishes with all the words on the spelling list. You can also draw intersecting lines across a sheet of paper and invite students to write a spelling word in each section with a different color marker in each box.

Further reading: Classroom Superlatives Are a Fun Way to End the School Year

Throughout my teaching career, I found that presenting fun classroom spelling games was the ticket to getting better grades from my students. Whether it's using one of my ideas or singing your spelling words to a rap beat, think of new ways to engage your students with spelling practice every day!